Presented by Danielle and Michael, this fizzy bottle rocket experiment is a fantastic outdoor science activity. It is all about how chemical reaction creates high pressure, which is sufficient enough to push an object.
Courtesy: The Royal Institution
Do you know how rockets fly? Are you aware that they can not escape the gravity of Earth unless they are covering at least 7 miles per second? Kids often think about launching a rocket, or fly high in the sky like a bird! Although it is not possible to fly in the sky, unless you are in a hot air balloon or in an aircraft. You can launch your rocket and that too without any powerful jet engine! Does this sound unbelievable? Let’s learn about the fizzy bottle rocket experiment to launch your bottle rocket.
Steps to Make Fizzy Bottle Rocket
- One fruit shoot bottle (500 ml)
- Few fizzy tablets (Alka Seltzer/Berocca tablets)
- 1 Mug or jar large enough to fit the bottle in an upside-down position
- Some warm water
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Steps to follow
- Take the fruit shoot bottle and unscrew its lid
- Fill half of the fruit shoot bottle with warm water
- Take two fizzy tablets and break them in half
- Now drop the broken pieces of fizzy tablets into the bottle
- Quickly put the lid firmly on the bottle and shake it
- Put the fruit shoot bottle inside the mug or jar in an upside-down position
- Make sure the bottle lid touches the bottom of the jar
- Stand back and wait for at least three minutes
- Your fizzy bottle rocket will get launched!
You will observe that when you put the half-filled fruit shoot bottle upside down inside the jar after shaking it hard, the lid opens within no time, and the bottle shoots up like a rocket high up in the sky. Now, you must be curious to understand how small pieces of fizzy tablets can push your bottle enough to launch it like a rocket. To understand the science behind this, you need to know how do the fizzy tablets work and act as fuel for your bottle rocket.
What makes the bottle rocket fly?
You all may have noticed that fizzy tablets or vitamin tablets get dissolved in water, but do you know while getting dissolved, they release bubbles of colorless carbon-dioxide gas. The phenomenon occurs because fizzy tablets contain agents that are capable of releasing CO2 when they react with water.
So, when you shake the bottle and turned it upside down inside the jug, the gas builds up rapidly and expands. This chemical reaction of the agents of a fizzy tablet with water exerts a pressure on the lid of the bottle and eventually pushes it to let the CO2 gas escape from the bottle.
When this pressure becomes enough, it pushes the lid. As every action has an equal and opposite reaction as per Newton’s third law of motion, the liquid and gas coming out of the bottle in a downward direction push the bottle in the opposite direction like the gases emitting out of a real rocket push it high in the sky. Now, did you ever wondered, if the bottle can fly high as a rocket, what is the need to half-fill the bottle with warm water? Isn’t a little amount of water enough to dissolve the fizzy tablet pieces? Let’s discover the answer.
Why does a bottle rocket need water?
Well, water is heavier than air. So, although air will produce enough pressure to push the bottle in an upward direction, adding water means more pressure to produces more thrust. Thrust is the force that is generated by the rocket propulsion system to move the rocket through space. It has an impact on all things that fly in the air, including birds and aircraft!
Remember, if you do not have access to fizzy tablets, you can also conduct the bottle rocket experiment with baking soda and vinegar. You have to replace warm water with vinegar and fizzy tablets with one tablespoon of baking soda. You can also use lemon juice if vinegar is not available.
Here are the steps to follow.
- An empty 500ml plastic bottle
- A cork that fits firmly on the bottleneck
- A small piece of kitchen roll
- One tablespoon baking soda
- One small cup of vinegar
- Three straws
- 1 Tape
- Take the empty plastic bottle and attach three straws to its side with the help of a tape in such a way that it can stand upside down
- Choose an outdoor open space to conduct your experiment
- Now pour approximately 2 cm of vinegar into the bottle.
- Wrap the baking soda in the piece of kitchen roll and drop it inside the bottle.
- Now, quickly add the cork and place the bottle on the ground or any hard surface in an upside-down position.
- Your rocket will shoot up high in the sky.
This fantastic video of the fizzy bottle rocket experiment gives a deep insight into how a chemical reaction triggers enough pressure to push an object. So, the next time when you hear a hissing sound while opening a can of soda, know that it is because of the escape of millions of CO2 molecules. Kids can also try to conduct with more warm water and different sizes of bottles to know whether the temperature of the water or the size of the bottle affects the chemical reaction in any way or not.
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